Government glowing as 1000s more social homes sold off under right to buy
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Housing, Local Government
Government glowing as 1000s more social homes sold off under right to buyImage: Housing via Shutterstock
The Tory-led coalition has announced that 2,845 social homes were sold off under the right to buy (RTB) scheme in April to June this year (2014-15's Quarter 1).
The figure represents a 31% increase in sales compared with the same period in 2013-14's Q1, when 2,171 state-owned homes were sold off to private buyers.
Roughly a third of all the homes sold in Q1 were in London.
This week, it was revealed that a company has been urging council housing tenants to let it buy their homes for them through RTB, offering householders large one-off payments as an incentive.
London Investment Property Group's Nicholas Carlino boasted to a reporter from the Sunday Times that he will "never have to work again" because of the huge amounts of profit he can make from RTB sales due to local authorities "massively undervaluing" their homes.
Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said that the latest RTB figures show that "hardworking tenants are also benefiting from government assistance".
Since the government 'reinvigorated' the RTB scheme in 2012 by massively increasing the discounts to tenants, nearly 22,500 social homes have been sold.
And the maximum discounts available for RTB properties have just increased again: up to £77,000 off the value of a home outside London, and £102,700 in the capital.
The government's figures show that 675 replacement homes were started on site in 2014-15 Q1 using funds generated from RTB sales.
Brandon Lewis said: "Wherever you look across the housing market, the signs of progress are clear. Housebuilding in England is up by over a fifth compared to last year, orders for building materials are rising at the quickest pace for 11 years, and companies are hiring new staff at the fastest rate since 1997. Hardworking tenants are also voting with their feet and taking up the RTB.
"This progress did not happen by accident. It bears testament to our efforts to reform the planning system and help homebuyers while paving the way for house builders to boost their output. But there’s still more to do, and improving the housing market will remain a vital part of our long-term economic plan."
Speaking today, Darren Johnson, Green party member of the London Assembly, said RTB was “a disaster for London".
He said: “A lot of council homes sold today will be in the hands of private landlords tomorrow. Fewer low-rent homes will drive more low paid people out of inner London. The mayor should lobby for it to be scrapped, and for councils to be allowed to borrow to invest in building many more.”